ULS vows to address La. workforce needs

BATON ROUGE – All eight presidents in the University of Louisiana System recently committed to addressing Louisiana’s workforce needs by targeting 2,400 new graduates each year in some of the state’s critical shortage areas by 2012.University presidents last week signed a sweeping agreement that the UL System will:

– Generate 2,400 additional new graduates annually, including 375 in education, 330 in health care, 115 in engineering, and 440 in business.

– Reduce the average number of years it takes for students to graduate from six to five years.

– Track graduate performance in Louisiana’s work force.

The commitment was part of a second annual daylong forum in which national and state education leaders, college presidents, legislators and others discussed the issues surrounding students’ access to college and their success at achieving a degree.
Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin affirmed the aggressive goals.

“It’s about the work force, but also about how we are trying to transform our state to focus on knowledge-based jobs and a knowledge-based economy.”

The most recent Louisiana Department of Labor statistics show 981 vacancies in education, 3,140 in engineering, 2,379 in business, and 9,484 in health care.

Ruston businessman and UL System Access to Success Committee Chair Wayne Parker said Board members were impressed with the presidents’ commitment to accountability.

UL System President Sally Clausen also commended the presidents for their commitment to accountability and affirmed that their performance toward meeting the 2012 goals would be tied to resources.